Laois fire service and county council staff respond to stream of flooding incidents

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

flooding sandbags laois

Sandbags dispatched to Mountmellick.

Crews from Laois County Fire and Rescue Service, staff from Laois County Council and the public have been out since early Sunday to prevent flood damage their homes and properties.

As heavy and persistent rain swept across Laois and other Leinster counties on January 21, the risk of flooding rose rapidly with emergency responses mounted in some areas.

Fire Officer Shay Brennan outlined the incidents responded to. He said crews from seven out of the eight Laois Fire Stations have active dealing with incidents while also on standby for any other life and death incidents that might occur.

Most of the problems were in the south and southwest of the county. Staff have also been monitoring the situation in Mountmellick and Portlarlington which were hit be last November's floods. 

People in Mountmellick have warned that the River Owenass has risen rapidly.

An incident was attended to at Acragar, Mountmellick to prevent two to three houses flooding. Staff have also been monitoring the situation in the Manor Lane which was badly hit last November. College Avenue is also on alert. Sandbags have been deployed. The situation at Irishtown has also been under review.

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An operation was mounted to prevent the flooding of Drennan's pub at Green Roads near Ballybrophy. The pub was saved from flood damage after local people worked the the council staff and fire service.

Officer Brennan said action was taken near Borris-in-Ossory to prevent the flooding of one house but a second nearby home was partially flooded.

An operation was ongoing on Sunday afternoon around 4pm to deal with 200 metres of flooding on the Shannon Road, Mountrath near the GAA grounds. Officer Brennan said there was some risk to a school and health centre but sandbags and pumps have been deployed in an effort to ensure neither building floods.

The Whitehorse River flows through Mountrath and has been known to cause flooding in the past.

Sandbags were used on the Johnstown Road, Rathdowney. Diversions were put in place to divert traffic away from the flooding.

Work has also been carried out to prevent a house from flooding on the Errill side of Rathdowney.  

The service has not yet had to deal with any flooding in Portarlington or Portlaoise said Officer Brennan.

He said the fire service and council would continue to respond to and monitor the situation where necessary. He was unable to say if rivers bursting banks caused the problems but said many streams are overflowing and the ground is saturated.

Crews from Portlaoise, Portarlington, Rathdowney, Durrow, Mountmellick, Mountrath and Abbeyleix have all attended incidents.

Officer Brennan praised the fire service and Laois County Council outdoor staff for their response and also thanked the public for their help particularly in Green Roads.

He urged the public to avoid flooded roads where at all possible and to drive appropriately if there was not option. 

Advice on driving through floods.